m a r g i n a l i a

notes from a creative writing PhD candidate

jack kerouac | 30 beliefs & techniques for modern prose

I gave this to an undergraduate creative writing class once, and they almost shit themselves.  “WTF is this?  Was he, like, drunk when he wrote it?”  “How are we supposed to take a guy doesn’t even know how to spell ‘your’ seriously?!!!”  “Didn’t you tell us never to turn in a first draft?”  “Is ‘angeled’ even a word?  Can we make up words?”  “Blow as deep as you want to blow…that’s disgusting.”

For your literary enjoyment, a list of Kerouac’s advice for free flowing, stream of consciousness, honest, down and dirty, real On the Road inspired prose:

1. Scribbled secret notebooks, and wild typewritten pages, for yr own joy
2. Submissive to everything, open, listening
3. Try never get drunk outside yr own house
4. Be in love with yr life
5. Something that you feel will find its own form
6. Be crazy dumbsaint of the mind
7. Blow as deep as you want to blow
8. Write what you want bottomless from bottom of the mind
9. The unspeakable visions of the individual
10. No time for poetry but exactly what is
11. Visionary tics shivering in the chest
12. In tranced fixation dreaming upon object before you
13. Remove literary, grammatical and syntactical inhibition
14. Like Proust be an old teahead of time
15. Telling the true story of the world in interior monolog
16. The jewel center of interest is the eye within the eye
17. Write in recollection and amazement for yourself
18. Work from pithy middle eye out, swimming in language sea
19. Accept loss forever
20. Believe in the holy contour of life
21. Struggle to sketch the flow that already exists intact in mind
22. Dont think of words when you stop but to see picture better
23. Keep track of every day the date emblazoned in yr morning
24. No fear or shame in the dignity of yr experience, language & knowledge
25. Write for the world to read and see yr exact pictures of it
26. Bookmovie is the movie in words, the visual American form
27. In praise of Character in the Bleak inhuman Loneliness
28. Composing wild, undisciplined, pure, coming in from under, crazier the better
29. You’re a Genius all the time
30. Writer-Director of Earthly movies Sponsored & Angeled in Heaven

jack-kerouac

the great beat one himself.

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